1/09/2011. Contributed by Vikki Green
pub: Quercus Publishing Plc. 358 page small hardback. Price: GBP 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84916-191-6.
check out websites: www.quercusbooks.co.uk and www.magicthief.co.uk
I always open a volume of ‘The Magic Thief’ series by Sarah Prineas with a feeling of pleasant anticipation, I was not disappointed with ‘Book Three – Found’. The twists and turns taken by the plot as Connwaer, Neverry, Embre and Rowan attempt to prevent their city of Wellmet's magic from being overwhelmed and destroyed by Arionvar, a hostile force bent on destroying the magic of other cities. It has already overwhelmed a neighbouring city in the previous volume, ‘Lost’.
It is a tightly told story, in which Connwaer defeats the prejudice against him among the other wizards and the Duchess of Wellmet, the loss of his magic stone and his sentence of exile from Wellmet. He manages to overcome all of these obstacles in the course of the story and vindicates his theories about the origins of all the cities' magic.
The central character, Connwaer, is instantly likeable and is a sympathetic narrator throughout the series. Sarah Prineas' use of the correspondence between Connwaer and his master, Neverry, is a natural way to increase the tension throughout. It keeps us in touch with what is happening in the Sunrise half of the city of Wellmet and later, in Wellmet, while Connwaer is following the path to his magic stone. Rowan, the duchess of Wellmet's daughter, and Neverry's diaries also allow different points of view to counter Conn's singular narrative. They also contribute to the rising sense of tension, will Connwaer be allowed to save Wellmet by the citys' authorities and the other wizards or will their short-sightedness lead to the city's destruction? They also highlight their affection for Connwaer, despite his explosive activities with slowsilver. This metal is at the base of all of Wellmet's magic and it is a metal with a curious history.
More of Connwaer's background in the Twilight half of the city is revealed. Given the psychotic nature of his father, the ruler of Twilight killed in Book One, it's surprising Connwaer has turned out to be as well balanced as he is.
The supporting characters are refreshing and not one of them irritates. Neverry's brusque affection for Connwaer and his faith in him is touching. Rowan's belief in Connwaer is also believable, as is her eventual status of Duchess of Wellmet. Even the sceptical and rather oafish Sir Argent comes to believe in Connwaer's ability to save Wellmet, though his reluctant involvement in Connwaer's quest is through Rowan's bidding. Captain Kerrn's integrity allows her to do the right thing, even if it flies in the face of her orders of the moment. Even the love-hate relationship Connwaer has with Wellmet's black birds is integral to the plot.
‘Found’ expands the world of the Peninsula Duchies and the foundations of their magic in a surprising and unique way. Dragon lore is given a refreshing and amusing twist on which the story pivots. It's also a refreshing twist and one that made me laugh with delight.
I enjoy the way Connwaer's needs are met, though never quite in the way he expects and usually in an explosive fashion. His problem is solved but he ends up in even more trouble than he was before. His ability to overcome the obstacles placed in his path by the Magicians, the court and the Twilight's underworld, not to mention Arionvar is entertaining. His resourcefulness and ingenuity make him an engaging and interesting protagonist. The story twists and turns to a staggering climax and one that leaves room for more adventures in this quirky world. I'd love to see more of Connwaer and his friends.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA